Timing is Everything: Pre-Emergent Weed Control for Your Bermuda or Zoysia Sod

Close up of zoysia grass

Timing is Everything: Pre-Emergent Weed Control for Your Bermuda or Zoysia Sod

A lush, weed-free Bermuda or Zoysia lawn is a thing of beauty, but keeping it that way involves strategic planning and action. Pre-emergent weed control plays a crucial role in this defense, but timing is absolutely critical, especially for newly installed sod. Let’s delve into the specifics of pre-emergent application for both young and mature Bermuda sod.

New Sod Needs Time to Breathe: When you’ve invested in beautiful new Bermuda or Zoysia sod, your primary focus should be on its successful establishment. This means creating an environment that encourages healthy root growth and development. Applying pre-emergent herbicides during this crucial period (usually the first 2-3 months) can be detrimental. These products work by preventing new cell growth, which unfortunately also includes the delicate roots of your new sod.

Be Patient, the Rewards Will Grow: Instead of pre-emergent, focus on proper watering, mowing, and fertilization to help your new sod thrive. Regular deep watering (see our watering blog post here) is essential, especially during the establishment phase. Once the roots are well-established, you can gradually reduce watering frequency. Mowing can start once the sod is tacked down, and fertilizer should be applied according to soil test results and local recommendations.

Mature Sod: Embrace the 50s and Forsythia: For established Bermuda sod, pre-emergent application becomes your weed-prevention warrior. The key to timing it right lies in soil temperature and a natural indicator:

  • Temperature: Aim for soil temperatures consistently reaching the mid-50s Fahrenheit (around 13°C). This signifies the prime germination window for many common weeds. You can easily measure soil temperature with a soil thermometer, or check this website for your local soil temp.
  • Forsythia Bloom: Another helpful indicator is the blooming of forsythia bushes. Their vibrant yellow flowers often coincide with soil temperatures suitable for pre-emergent application in many regions.

Remember: Always follow the specific instructions on the pre-emergent product label you choose. This includes application rates, reapplication timing (often needed every 8-12 weeks), and safety precautions.

By understanding the different needs of new and mature sod, and timing your pre-emergent application strategically, you can achieve a healthy, weed-free Bermuda or Zoysia lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood. Remember, patience with new sod and precise timing for established lawns are the keys to success!